Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Speaking confidently with Hollywood's speech coach, Roger Love

While I was preparing for interviews, I stumbled across a video on how to speak confidently. While suspicious its informercialesque title, I decide to give it a try because I trusted the source (Victor Cheng's Case Interview Secrets, great website for those of you interested in consulting). In the video, Victor Cheng is interviewed Roger Love, the self-proclaimed top vocal coach in America.

Fake tan. Gold letters.
Definitely from Hollywood.
Although his title seemed a bit arrogant, he definitely has reason to brag. Roger Love has coached a wide range of celebrities from famous actors like Kiera Knightly, Colin Farrell and Jeff Bridges to musicians like John Mayer, the Killers and Smashing Pumpkins to even now, consultants and businessmen. Impressed with his credentials and intrigued by his energy and eccentric personality, I decided to preview his interview with Victor Cheng.

Fifty minutes later, I was very impressed and eager to learn more. For those of you who are reluctant to watch the video (seriously, it may be a bit long but it's worth it) I wanted to highlight some of his main arguments that he addressed. Starting as a singing coach, Roger Love believes that singing and good speaking are highly inter-related. He points out that mostly everyone, who is not formally trained, makes fundamental mistakes in three areas:
  1. Melody
  2. Volume
  3. Connecting Words
"I have a dream that one day,
my children will not be judged
by the color of their skin
but the content of their character"
Yes, this is the very same melody in music. It is very important to connect all the words together in your sentences and only stop at the punctuation. Most people will give equal weight to all of their words, stopping abruptly rather than drawing out the important parts of the sentence. Good speakers almost sound like they are singing, if you haven't done so already listen to MLK Jr.'s I have dream speech. Growing up in Kentucky raised by a southern baptist mother, I have had my experience with southern baptist preachers. They are emphatic, emotional and exude vibrant personalities. But, as Roger Love points out, MLK has a beautiful melody to his voice, drawing out the important words and connecting his clauses (which I will talk about later).

Most people do not speak loudly enough. It is important, when speaking to someone else, not to just "fill the gap" between you two but rather project your voice to the entire room. This will make you sound more confident so if you struggle from this, stay conscious of speaking loudly even when you are unsure. Today, during our presentations, I heard Ons speak louder than ever. It was great- she sounded confident and she did an excellent job presenting. What Roger Love points out as well, however, is to keep a melody to your speech while projecting your voice. Without melody, you just sound angry (even when you talking for your family and your dog).
"The best way to spread Christmas cheer,
is singing LOUD for all to hear"
I'm not the only one
who said that in my head, right?
Connecting Words 
He also talks about how people neglect both to explore their full vocal capacity and to stop only at punctuation. Ideally, people have the vocal capacity to hit 25 different notes. Successful speakers often can use 8-12 different notes. Most people, however, on average are monotone: they only use 1-1.5 notes. Most famously, Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller's Day off. "Anyone, anyone? Bueller? Bueller?" Listen to your friend speaking. See how many notes they use, you may be surprised that he or she explores fairly few. 

Seriously, take the time to sit down and listen to the interview. It was incredible watching through some of the greatest speakers (like MLK and JFK) and realizing how they mastered all of the points that Roger Love emphasized. I only paraphrased the video and he discusses much more that I have written in this article. I have become more conscious of how I speak and how others speak, listening to the melody of their speech, the notes that they use and how they connect their sentences. I am hoping that I can convey myself as a more confident and articulate speaker, which are essential skills to be successful in science or elsewhere.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.